'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Rep. Tom Cole, Rep. Keith Ellison, Cokie Roberts, and Dan Senor on 2014 midterms and the crisis in Ukraine.
3:00 | 03/23/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
Let's get the roundtable's reaction. Oklahoma republican congressman, Tom Cole. Minnesota democratic congressman, Dan Ellison. Dan senor, co-founder of the foreign policy initiative and our own cokie Roberts. Does anyone disagree with Nate silver? I disagree. Oh, oh. What a surprise. What a surprise. First of all, this is a snapshot in time. And, you know, if democrats are watching this broadcast, then they need to get out on the street and start knocking on doors. This is going to motivate our base to get out and make relationships and show this is the folks who shut down the government, these are the folks responsible for sequester. These are the folks that don't want to extend unemployment insurance. 10,000 people in Oklahoma -- I'm glad you're so concerned. 2,000 in Minnesota have not gotten unemployment insurance. This is who's responsible for that. If you want to see more of that bad stuff, stay at home. If not, you better get out -- He dreaming? Yeah, he is. Which is often the case with my friend. Quite frankly -- And that's a very big dream on your part. Look, you look for obvious signs. The playing field has been getting bigger rather than smaller for republicans for months now. Places not normally in play are coming into play. Most of the places that silver ticked off are red states that the president lost badly in the last election. And finally, a bellwether special election with Florida 13 which I think showed a lot about what the state of play is. This is the district -- Seem like there's a formula too. Right? They are both right. What we're seeing in the latest ABC poll is 34 states with senate elections up. The republicans are up by 12 points in the 34 states. So what's the likelihood? The likelihood is the republicans take the senate. There is one republican seat in play, which is Georgia. But the fact is that -- that there are a lot of things that have to happen, and one of them is republican primaries have to come out the way republicans want. Some states they can nominate Yahoos, and the Yahoos will win. But other states, if they nominate Yahoos, the democrat is likely to win. You got that? This is a fundamental difference from 2010 to 2012. Everybody understands -- Candidate equipment. Look at Arkansas and Alaska. You just go across the spectrum -- Colorado. Colorado, we had a crazy right winger who would have lost the general election. He got out. And now Gardner who can win has gotten in. You've done a much better job. And insurgent groups on the right are more strategic. The club for growth, other groups are not going after -- not backing candidates for the general election. Where Keith was right, if the democrats, and it's an enormous if, if the democrats get out their vote, which they don't do normally in off years, then they could win. But that's a big if. The president's approval rating in these states is in the low 40s. The senate democrat incumbents have to outperform the president's Numbers by double digits. These are states that Romney won by 10 or 20 point. Let me talk about what if the republicans do take the senate? What happens? Big changes? What if Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires? Can they overturn obamacare? What the president needs to decide, spend the last two years in foreign travel or seriously negotiate with the congress of the United States. It takes republican votes, but also take a democratic signature. Somewhat similar to bill Clinton. We got welfare reform, balanced budget. Most democrats didn't vote for them. But you had republican who is pushed them through and a willing negotiating partner on the other side. If the president will do that, we can come to grips, entitlement reform, find common ground on infrastructure, get tax reform. I don't think that's going to happen with a democratic senate. You mentioned the president and foreign travel. Not really a great week for the president in terms of the faceoff with Vladimir Putin. We loved this from the onion, the satirical website, penning a humanous rous op-ed. With Putin saying it's no easy task to forcefully annex an entire province against another country's will. So I just wanted to thank the government of the United States, the nation of western Europe and really the entire world population as a whole for being super cool about this. The onion is not alone, congressman. Is Putin getting away with murder because the world really lacks the challenge? Really lacks the force? Think about the options on the table. You know, I don't think it's appropriate to steam through the black sea and get into world war iii, perhaps. What is the president doing? Sanctioning leaders in Russia, he is condemning this in the strongest terms. He's mobilizing western forces to make sure that this is condemned and stopped. And nato is getting mobilized and understands this is a high-stakes thing. A few years ago when we saw action in Georgia and the caucuses, what did George bush do? The president is doing what it's responsible to do. And your, you know, sort of like -- But meanwhile, we have all the troops on the border. And you had the foreign minister say that the likelihood of war was high last week and higher this week. That withdrawal from the base in crimea was fort sumpter. It was. It really was. That was the beginning of the civil war. Now we go to civil war in the Ukraine. What does the United States do? Basic things, provide small arms and ammunition to the Ukrainian government and the military. They are asking for, the president hasn't provided. They provided mrs to the Ukrainians. They haven't delivered them yet. So small compared to Russia, though. Missile defense capabilities in former Warsaw pac countries part of nato. Provide resources, military resources, ground force movement the for former Warsaw pac countries that are part of nato. Expand the act. They have hundreds of Russians we can be sanctioning. The administration sanctioned a handful much them. I'm not saying you're wrong, but the republican attacking the president is counterproductive. And that if we wanted -- This is not a republican, democrat thing. There are democrats who share my position. I agree, but the president needs to get the support of the country and move forward together with all the -- The onion. Look. This has been an administration from the reset to the cancellation of the agreements that we had with Poland and the Czech Republic on missile defense to Syria, that frankly has been outthought and outmaneuvered by Putin. That's why we're here. I agree there are limits. Nobody is talking about putting troops on the ground. But I think you want to catch their attention, go back to something Dan said. Reopen negotiations with the poles and the czechs about the anti-ballistic missile defense. That's the one card we have to play that really wakes them up in Moscow. And quickly on the republican party. This has split the republican party. Yes, well. I think that the republican party, there has been a debate about whether or not the republican party is shift iing to quasi-isolationism. Debate over NSA, drones, Syria. The debate about Putin, there's been a correction. Rand Paul was initially quite critical of republicans going back to cold war rhetoric. Watch where the party went, and Ted Cruz. He's a bellwether for the base. He was critical of the president on Russia and Ukraine, and now Rand Paul is in a more muscular position. I think that that neoisolationist politics on the right is paralyzing them is overstated. Taking over parts of countries, it changes the whole place. It certainly does. Coming up, the political firestorm over obamacare and contraception heads to the

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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